S­400 Air Defence Deal


    In News

    • The delivery schedule for the S-400 long range air defence systems is on track for the end of 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

    About S 400 Triumf

    • The S-400 Triumf, previously known as the S-300PMU-3, is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. 
    • It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007.
    • China was the first foreign buyer to make a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014, while Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India and Belarus have all acquired, or expressed interest, in the system since.
    • In 2017, the S-400 was described by The Economist as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made” and an official of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said it “is among the most advanced air defense systems available”.
    • Max. target speed: 4.8 km/s (17,000 km/h; 11,000 mph; Mach 14)
    • Operational range: 40 Km to 400 Km
    • It is a long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. 
    • This system is for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and will help in further enhancing the air defence (AD). 

    Reservations by the US

    • In October 2018, India had signed a $5.43 billion deal with Russia for five S-400 regiments despite objections from the U.S.
      • This deal was finalised during 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi in 2019 with aim for long-term security needs.
    • U.S. officials on several occasions raised concerns over the deal as India deepened its defence cooperation with the U.S. and acquired several frontline military platforms like transport aircraft, helicopters, artillery and drones.
    • China issue: The US has previously imposed sanctions against China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD) for purchasing Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and the same S-400 missiles that India is purchasing.
    • Turkey issue: Turkey, a NATO ally, had also upset the US with its purchase of S-400 missiles in 2018. Washington imposed sanctions on Turkish officials in December 2020 under a US law that bars significant military transactions with Russia.

    What is Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)?

    • The CAATSA is a U.S. federal law that imposes economic sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea. 
    • The bill came into effect on August 2, 2017, with the intention of countering perceived aggressions against the U.S. government by foreign powers. 
    • It accomplishes this goal by preventing U.S. companies from doing business with sanctioned entities.


    • The possibility of U.S. sanctions on the deal under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), is less because this deal has met national security considerations.
    • For the Indian Air Force (IAF), the high-end technology S-400 would give a fillip and make up for its falling fighter aircraft squadrons in the medium-term. 
    • The S-400 air defence systems and Rafale fighter jets could be the “game changers” and “booster dose” for the IAF.
    • The knowledge of exploitation of S-400s shall additionally provide IAF with tactics to under pin enemy SAM complexes or to outsmart such incoming SAM missiles. 
    • The S-400 SAM complexes are truck deployable also and this mobility makes its detection for tracking (to shoot) difficult. 


    • Overall, S-400 SAMs will provide India with an offensive and a defensive capability.


    Source: TH